It’s a known fact that we spend most of our lives away from home; be it in university classrooms in our initial days or office spaces in the later part of our lives. Just like animals, humans also ensure their surroundings are relatable as it truly increases their productivity. If you look around, you’ll notice everyone’s desks are personalised with photos, mementos, and other personal things… which makes us wonder, does an office space truly affect our productivity?
Design that recognises the environment as an equal stakeholder in the built process, and admits nature and natural elements into its fabric, will automatically be both environment-friendly and nurturing to employees. Recreational or exercise regimes can be directly integrated into design schemes as multi-functional spaces.
Exercise chairs at workstations and jogging tracks with distance indicators woven into circulation areas are some of the innovative measures that can be considered. Tweaking furniture design to encourage various ergonomic postures and have task-specific instead of assigned workstations encourage movement.
Colors play an important role in designing. People tend to be attracted to colour at first sight than the pattern. Designing is all about mixing ideas but today’s trend says something different. The influence of colours on one's psychological as well as physical wellbeing is of undeniable prominence. Chromotherapy, or the use of colors for healing purposes has been a holistic approach since ancient times. As designers, it is of utmost significance to understand how different collars evoke different responses from people and most importantly being tactful in choosing a suitable color scheme as per the function that space renders.
In places such as a workspace where majority of individuals tend to spend great amount of their time, there is a need to strike a perfect balance of colors with respect to the segregated spaces within the office like reception lobby, meeting and conference rooms, open office workstations, cafeteria, collaborative spaces, and even washrooms. This is important in order to achieve an overall relaxed atmosphere that would, in turn, boost productivity. For example, due to their bright nature, warm colours have been known to induce a stimulating effect on one’s mind that can not only trigger enthusiasm amongst people subjected to them but also potentially emanate energetic vibes.
On the contrary, cool colours provide a calming effect that has known to inspire creativity while providing a tranquil ambience. Sometimes colors such as whites, greys or softer shades such as beige and like are of equal significance to induce neutrality amongst a warm or a cool palette so that neither of them has an effect that is too overpowering. With the help of these proven and accepted notions in relation to the impact of colours on one’s subconscious self, we as designers control the mood of the entire setting of space. Hence, there is a need to carefully analyse the requirement and function of the space so that the end user can perceive an optimum visual experience as desired.
Lighting, for example, has evolved to incorporate a variety of technologies, from finding use as a signalling device to even providing internet access, a technology known as Li-Fi. Technologies like Circadian Lighting use light as a medium to create ambient, task-specific environments attuned to the perceived state of mind of a workforce based on the time of the day and corresponding energy level.
Space that requires more privacy vis a vis heat and sound insulation are ideally zoned to the interiors of buildings, or in proximity to site contexts that will engender less human activity. Thereafter, further tweaking is always possible by choosing materials with greater insulatory properties. Glass facades help induce an element of transparency to the general aesthetic of a building, which helps promote a sleek, welcoming aesthetic that steers from the behemoth-ic look of brutalist/industrial buildings of a similar scale. In addition, the connotations of glass as a modern material, have a psychological impact on a beholder wrt to creating the perception of prestige
From the closed offices to open spaces, office designs encourage two-way communication, transparency, as well as reduced hierarchal, feels between employees and bosses. This set up encourages collaboration and builds relationships between a workforce. Open-plan offices are also easier for businesses to set up; they maximise on space and reduce running costs too.
Well-designed offices house a number of different spaces for people to work in. If employees are finding that their main workspace is too noisy, there should be an area on-site where they can retreat to. This might be a meeting room, a booth or pod, a canteen or simply a quiet seating area close by.